New plastics tax to help clean up Britain's wildlife

Bottled Water Craze Outpaces Recycling Efforts
Makers of non-recycled plastics will be hit by a new tax (Source: Getty)

Non-recycled plastic packaging will be taxed under new plans announced by the chancellor to reduce ocean waste.


Philip Hammond said he was committing the UK to tackle deadly plastics.

“We must become a world leader in tackling the scourge of the plastic littering our planet and our oceans,” the chancellor said.

Plastic packaging is “convenient for consumers but deadly for our wildlife and oceans,” he added.

The new tax, which will come into force in April 2022, will be levied on producers or importers of plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30 per cent recycled plastics.


The government also aims to place more responsibility on producers to bear the costs of their packaging waste.

It will also discourage companies from making difficult-to-recycle packaging, such as black plastics.

The proposals, which are subject to consultation, follow months of public awareness campaigns over the threat of single-use plastics.

However, the chancellor did not levy a tax on coffee cups.

He said: “I have concluded that a tax in isolation would not at this point deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.

“I will monitor carefully the effectiveness of the action which the takeaway drinks industry is already taking to reduce single-use plastics, and I will return to this issue if sufficient progress is not made.”

Andy Mayer chief operating officer at the institute of economic affairs said: “We await the detail on the plastics tax later this year, however it is going to be very difficult for the government to coherently define what a plastic is - let alone recyclate for tax purposes - without huge unintended consequences, far divorced from their intention to reduce plastic waste. They would be better off stimulating innovation in new materials, and letting the market decide.”